Friday, March 19, 2010

Return to a Positive Mind-frame

I spoke to Clyde this morning. It always makes me feel better when I do. Her strength and ability to appreciate the "here and now" are reassuring. I hope that someday, I too will have that quality of spirit. After we discussed her recent Rituxin treatment, we laughed hard about life. The strength provided by the knowledge that we're fighting this together is profound. I feel like we share a remarkable bond.

I made my flight arrangements for my next voyage back to Madison. This trip, I will provide lymphocytes that will be transfused into Clyde. The medical team will use the same blood separating process that was employed the first go-around. The procedure, called apheresis, will take blood out of one arm, separate the needed cells and then replace the blood in my other arm. It takes about three and a half hours but is not painful. The harvested blood cells are supposed to "jump-start" the anti-cancer effects of Clyde's new immune system. When I spoke to Jan, the transplant coordinator, yesterday she confirmed that around 50% of t-cell transplant patients get this form of booster shot. To use her language, it will help us "get out in front" of the disease again.

I think I finally realized the angst I was feeling about Clyde's current condition was more about me than it was her health. I'm aware of how selfish that sounds but it's completely honest. The reality is that I was ready to be the hero. I wanted to be the person that cured Clyde's cancer. Yeah, that sounds a bit sick but it's the truth. It is unbelievably gratifying to think that you've been able to do that for another human being. The fact that we're having to go back and do remedial work felt like a defeat.

I asked Jan point blank if we should consider the transplant process a failure and she insisted that it wasn't. Remember her language, "we just need to get out in front" of the disease. Fifty percent of patients get additional cells and that lasting remission is a real possibility. Right now the lymphoma has gained some ground but the fight is not over. We are going to win.

When my kids are going to an audition or competition, I remind them that they cannot make the judges pick them as the winner. All they can do is their best. What happens after that is in someone else's hands. I need to remind myself of that as well. All I can do, all the medical team can do, is our best. Nature, chemistry and biology will take it from there. Fortunately, the medical technology and expertise are on our side. Add that to Clyde's positive outlook and I feel good about our chances.

I'm looking forward to going back and contributing again to Clyde's return to good health. I'm confident that this next step will help us get to the tipping point. With my cells and Clyde's strength I don't see how we can be denied.

Thank you again for your support and good wishes. The energy created will help Clyde get to the state of good health she deserves.

Be well.

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